At the start of 2020 it might have felt bizarre to be discussing the value of the office, but now, in a climate where many have been resigned to working from home for months and are eager to return, it is significant and relevant to address the impact of office spaces on business development.
The camaraderie of office life is missed by many. This creative and community-driven environment that some may perceive as superfluous is, in fact, at the heart of every thriving business. Being able to communicate openly in a welcoming environment, that doesn’t necessitate setting up an arduous Zoom call or sending another lengthy email thread, is key to generating new ideas. A collaborative approach to creating and delivering projects often makes for the most successful work, and having an office space where your team can interact and come together to use all of their strengths for the betterment of the business is ideal.
This collaboration is hugely beneficial for the success of businesses, but is also vital in indicating to employees the value of their own personal wellbeing. Working at home, siloed by yourself, can be a very isolating experience and, without the motivation of going to the office and engaging with a team, can be a very negative experience.
In this new age where businesses have acknowledged that the better an individual’s wellbeing is, the better their work output is, it’s hugely important to prioritise employees’ mental health.
According to a survey by the global financial services company Jefferies taken during COVID, 61% of more than 1,500 UK respondents said they would return to work immediately if they could.
Similarly, People Collective polled their network of more than 5,000 HR bosses and asked for the biggest reasons their teams had shared for wanting to go back to the office. 70% cited social and mental health issues, including feelings of loneliness.
A mental health webinar might not suffice, but structuring a plan to get your team back into a welcoming and safe office space, might just.
The office space also has a large influence on how the brand identity of your business is perceived. Your office serves as a brand hub and, as the first place where potential customers, contractors and partners may encounter you, says a lot about you.
When you think of Apple, Google or Misguided, alongside their brand offering, you immediately think of their workspaces. Iconic landmarks that enhance people’s perception of the brands and solidify their stance as industry leaders. Investing in the right space for you and your team could pay off dividends when it comes to winning new business and securing the best talent.
Whilst the office space will continue to be vital in engaging with brand identity, creating a collaborative environment and supporting employee’s mental wellbeing, its role has also shifted. The future of office spaces looks different to what could have been imagined at the start of 2020 – there will now be a more flexible approach to work, a focus on facilities and amenities, and, of course, a commitment to cleanliness and safety.
In a world where all offices must be COVID-secure, with sanitation features, staggered schedules and innovative spatial layouts, a post COVID-world will inevitably carry echoes of this fastidious regard for health and safety. These shifts may make the office space a different experience, but they are simply another step in the evolution of the office space, as it becomes an even safer, more inclusive and welcoming place to be in.
And that’s it